I found this recipe for smothered pork chops in The Best Slow & Easy Recipes: A Best Recipe Classic which I just picked up from the library(there is a video of the episode here). I find their cookbooks and shows are great, as they give you a lot of tips and tricks for improving recipes, and why they work – a lot of times the information applies to other recipes as well. I’ll be trying a few more recipes from the book in the next few weeks.
I did change the recipe a bit to suit what I had on hand. The original included bacon which I am always an advocate of, but sadly all I had was some reserved bacon fat, which I made good use of!
Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops
6 pork chops (recommended bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 3/4″ thick) I could only find a mixed pack of bone-in loin and rib chops – I think bone in is important for this recipe, for flavour
oil or reserved bacon fat
8 -10 mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large carrot diced small
3 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (I didn’t have cornstarch, they call for 1 tablespoon cornstarch, use that if you have it!)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Heat a skillet over medium high heat, and melt bacon fat until shimmering. Brown chops (only 3 at a time fit in my pan) and set aside on a plate.If necessary add more fat/oil to pan, then add chopped mushrooms and fry until they start to get golden brown. Throw in carrot and continue to saute for a few minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker broth mixture.
Again, add additional fat/oil if necessary then add onions, 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. (forgot to take fried onion picture, they were lovely, nice dark golden brown colour!) Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer the onion mixture to slow cooker.Pour remaining one cup of broth into skillet and scrape up any brown bits from the pan, simmer for a few minutes, then add to slow cooker.
At the end of the cooking time, remove the chops and skim the fat off the top of the sauce, or, as I did, just use a shallow spoon and over the last hour or so of cooking gently lower the spoon and allow fat to drain into it and discard. Then, add one tablespoon of cider vinegar to the sauce (this really added that certain something!).
There was quite a bit of fat to remove, but it was quite easy to do – even easier would be to remove chops, refrigerate sauce, and remove fat when solid – the next day will probably only make the dish tastier.
Served with brown rice and sauteed brussel sprouts.